AFRICA-MADAGASCARAn Obedience on three fronts
In this third year of the Oblate Triennium focused on the Mission, here is the testimony of Brother Mirabeau DIATANG (Cameroonian) about his ministry at Ngovayang.
I officially began my mission at the hospital in Ngovayang in July 2013. As I was still studying in Yaoundé, I made the trip twice a month to Ngovayang.
In my letter of obedience, it is specified: "I am communicating to you your official assignment to the mission of Ngovayang in the Diocese of Kribi, where you will offer your services not only through your participation in community life but also through your missionary zeal in service to the sick at the hospital of this mission and to the faithful at the parish of St. Francis Xavier.”
From that, it was clear that my first mission must be carried out within the community, and then at the hospital, and finally, in the parish.
Within the community, I am with two confreres who have much experience in religious life. I thank God for this community where dialogue, sharing and brotherly love are right at home. As bursar of the community, it is my mission to manage our small earnings which allow us to take care of our minimal needs. On weekends and holidays, I exercise my cooking talents.
At the hospital: In August 2014, I moved to Ngovayang as Director of the hospital. I was astonished at the huge size of this hospital deep in the forest in the South.
The sick person is at the heart of our concerns. It is for this reason that in the procedural plan, we have put the accent on the doctor-patient relationship, the quality of care and the retraining of personnel. We have strengthened collaboration with community health workers in the field of education and prevention.
I would like to emphasize the importance of open collaboration between the three religious congregations present in Ngovayang, each committed to the welfare of persons, especially the littlest ones.
We have our challenges: finding partners for the funding of hospital activities; making Ngovayang hospital a place for evangelization: our treatment, our way of looking at them and our words for the sick must be imbued with love, joy and peace. The hospital’s 50 years coincide with the year of Divine Mercy. We do our best to help the patient experience a personal and familial reconciliation.
In addition to administrative and financial management, I participate in preventive and healing activities.
In the parish: Before the arrival of the pastor, I took care of organizing catechesis, the formation of catechists and ministry with youth. This year, I am in charge of the altar servers. I also animate a retreat for the students during Lent.
From 20 – 22 September 2016, the Oblate Scholasticate, Maison Yves Plumey in Yaoundé, held some days of reflection in order to plan the 2016-2017 academic year. The days began with the questions: "Why hold these scholasticate days?” Father Gabriel KINZE, who organized the sessions, explained that in life, at times the questions are more important than the answers. A person who does not ask questions about his own life is doomed to endure it.
Beginning with this "why” question, he proposed three answers:
1. The first answer, he pointed out, is from the Gospel (Luke 14: 28-33). Indeed, it is the Lord Jesus himself who recommends it. He told his disciples to "sit down” before beginning a job. That means to "know how to plan:” "to program or plan what you want” if you really want to succeed; otherwise, you risk becoming an object of the mockery of passers-by if the work begun remains unfinished.
2. The second answer he proposed is "constitutional” (taken from our CCRR). Indeed, our CCRR recommend that each Oblate community meet at the beginning of the year to adopt the rhythm of life and prayer that suits it. That means "together it will adopt the community plan…” (C38)
3. The third and final answer he gave has to do with wisdom. (It points to the wisdom drawn from life experience.) Wisdom tells us that before undertaking a journey, you should know very well from the start where you are going (destination); what road to take; by what means and method; and the reason or reasons for going. Along the way, you must ensure that you are on the right track (quarterly or semi-annual evaluations). And after the journey, it is wise to check if you have arrived at the destination. This exercise is called the "final evaluation”. "Goal, programming or planning, implementation and evaluation” are words that guide and make the world live today.
"Maison Yves Plumey" Oblate Scholasticate in Yaoundé, Cameroon
In a word, the principal goal of these days of reflection at the beginning of the scholasticate year is the programming or planning of the communities formation project. The principal theme that the Maison Yves Plumey chose for this 2016-2017 year is the following: "Religious, Missionary Oblate, Faithful, Free and Responsible.” (P. Gaby CRUGNOLA)
The Diocese of Livingstone in Zambia joyfully welcomed Bishop Valentine KALUMBA at his episcopal ordination on 3 September 2016. Ordaining the 49 year-old Oblate to his new office was his predecessor, Bishop Emeritus Raymond Mpezele. The principal co-consecrators were Bishop George Cosmas Zumaire Lungu, Bishop of Chipata, and Bishop Clement Mulenga, S.D.B., Bishop of Kabwe.
Bishop Mpezele urged his young successor to lead the people of the diocese by being a good shepherd after the example of Jesus: "Jesus was a good shepherd who loved his sheep both in word and action; and as a bishop, Bishop Valentine has to love Jesus and only by so doing that he will be able to feed the sheep of Jesus Christ.”
The ordination was attended by bishops from within Zambia and abroad, Bishop Valentine’s Oblate confreres, many priests and religious brothers and sisters, traditional chiefs, civic leaders and lay faithful.
Livingstone Diocese covers the southern part of Zambia, approximately 58,200 sq kms.
Fr Fidele MUNKIELE is the Formation Director of the Kenya Mission and also a prison chaplain, a ministry which was dear to the heart of the young Father Eugene de Mazenod.
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate are involved in prison ministry in many locations in the world. It is in-line with our charism: to evangelize the poor, the most abandoned. In Kenya, the Oblates are ministering in the Nairobi Langatta Women’s Prison.
Our ministry consists of attending to the prisoners’ spiritual needs (Masses, the Sacraments), pastoral needs, social welfare and psychological care. It’s a challenging ministry because it involves time, material means and presence. We assist them with their basic needs: soap, toiletries, shoes, medicines.
Many women are convicted because of crimes (minor or major) committed on the basis of the poverty and joblessness in their lives. Desperation leads them to do anything they can, in order to survive. Many are single mothers, and some are young ladies. Other women are there because of poor legal representation due to poverty.
Our ministry gives them the opportunity to reform their lives and to counsel them, so that, once they are free, they can live a normal, healthy life. Those who leave, after serving their sentence for many years, receive no help from the government or society – they are often rejected by their own families. The Oblates try to assist them with small amounts of money so they can start a small, simple, business in order to survive. Some have children who, unfortunately, cannot access education.
We all know that water means life. In June this year, we were able to provide a 8,000 litre tank at the Women’s Prison which has a problem providing adequate water to the women, some of whom have small children or babies to care for. The gift brought tears of joy to the prisoners and staff alike.